6 Easy Ways Your Tween Can Help You

Your tween is old enough to lend a hand

Your tween can help out by making a meal or a snack.
Allow your tween to help you by doing chores, or taking care of younger siblings. Carey Kirkella/Taxi/Getty Images

Parenting can take its toll, and if an illness, a busy work week, or an unexpected challenge is thrown into the mix, it can become overwhelming. The good news is your child is old enough now to help chip in and take a little bit of the load off of your shoulders. If you're having a stressful or terribly busy week or month, you may need to ask your child to take over some duties. Here's how your tween can help you when you need it the most.


When You're Sick

When you're sick you just want to hunker down and let someone else do all the work. While you may not be able to get your tween to cover all of your responsibilities, your child is old enough to help you while you're feeling down. Your child can take care of the pets, keep younger children entertained and safe, and even prepare a simple meal like sandwiches, or a nice salad. Allow your tween to bring you water and to take care of small chores, such as tidying up the house and bringing in the mail. Your tween can really boost your spirits and make you feel better with a small note of affection or a cute handmade card.

When You're Having a Busy Work Week 

Sometimes the work schedule can take over your family life. If you're having a busy work week your tween can help you by taking responsibility for a number of things. For starters, you child can make sure that he or she gets up in the morning early enough to get dressed, eat breakfast, and make the bus—eliminating the need for you to drive them to school.

Also, your child can help pick up the house when home from school and stay up to date on the laundry by putting a load in the washer and dryer every day of the week. If possible, allow your tween to pick a night of the week to make dinner—a salad or a frozen pizza, just as long as it's something you think your tween can tackle safely.

Finally, it's important that your child stay on top of school responsibilities if you're busy and can't afford the time to constantly remind him or her.

When You're Stressed Out

Stress can take a lot out of a person, a parent especially. With everything that parents have to do, it's no wonder that stress becomes a problem for so many. But your tween can help you get past some of those anxious feelings just by being himself or herself. Allow your child to take you for a walk, bike ride, or a jog around the neighborhood. The exercise may help you unwind and get you feeling more like yourself. A parent/child visit to the gym or even an evening out for dinner and a movie can also help you regroup. You can also have fun together just by staying home and watching television or playing video games together. Spend a little time with your tween having fun and your stress may just melt away.

When You're Grieving

If you've lost a loved one or are going through the grieving process due to divorce, separation, or another lifestyle adjustment, your tween can help.

Tweens have a wonderful way of living in the moment, and that's something that a person who is going through tough times can learn from. Your tween's enthusiasm for life, learning, and anything new can help you see things through a different lens and put your problems into perspective. Also, allow your tween to boost your spirits by being goofy and silly—a little dose of silliness may be just what you really need. 

When You're Late Getting Home

If traffic or other unexpected challenges puts you behind schedule, your tween can help out. When you think your child is ready to stay home alone for short periods of time, prepare him or her on how to manage without you for a little while. Make sure your child knows the safety rules and who to call if they need help. Also, encourage your child to set the dinner table, start homework, or pick up his room while he or she is waiting for you to arrive. If your tween has somewhere to be, tell your child that you're on your way home and that he or she should be ready to leave when you get there. Your instructions to your child should be clear but short and to the point. And try not to overwhelm your child with too many demands.

When You're Cutting Costs

Family budgets sometimes require a little pinching here and there, especially if there's been an unexpected expense or a  job layoff. If your family has to cut costs, your tween can help. Your child needs to know why the family has to pay attention to expenses and that everyone needs to help out. Your tween can help by cutting coupons, shopping sales with you, and economizing by visiting thrift stores, and accepting hand-me-downs from older siblings. The experience will likely make your child appreciate how much it takes to run a household and feed a family. If you really want your tween's buy-in, ask him or her to think of ways to cut costs and economize. Your child may come up with ideas that you never even thought of. 

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